The Fund has offices in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles. Interested applicants should contact the Fund by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with the appropriate staff member.
Type of foundation: Independent
Types of grants: Project, production, engagement
Description: The mission of the Fledgling Fund is to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, families and communities by supporting innovative media projects that target entrenched social problems. The Fund seeks to make grants at a critical stage of a media project where timely funding could amplify its social impact. The primary focus of The Fledgling Fund's creative media grantmaking is outreach and audience engagement. Through its Creative Media giving program, the Fund supports:
- Outreach and Audience Engagement: These grants support the development and/or implementation of strategic audience engagement initiatives for feature and short form films. Films should be at least at a rough cut stage to be considered for this type of funding.
- Grants for Films: Generally these grants support late-stage, post-production costs. Films should be timely, have strong outreach potential, have completed production and have a rough cut to be considered.
- Innovative Creative Media: These grants support the use of emerging technology to engage new audiences around important social issues, not necessarily tied to a film.
The Fund focuses on the following key issues:
- Girls' empowerment and women's leadership.
- Health and wellness.
- Environmental justice.
- Economic justice and systemic poverty.
- Education experiences.
- Justice system.
- Special projects and field-building.
The Fledgling Fund has produced helpful publications on its understanding of impact assessment and audience/community engagement. These resources are available here.
- $25,000 to The Invisible War, a film about soldier on soldier rape in the U.S. military. Beginning at Sundance 2012, the film is engaging audiences in demanding change in the systems that allow this epidemic to continue. In addition, through partnerships, the film will provide a network of support and resources that has previously not been available to victims. The Fledgling grant will provide the support this team needs to launch a highly substantive outreach and audience engagement campaign, including a website which will serve as the hub of the campaign (2012).
- $25,000 to Girls on the Wall, a documentary about three incarcerated teenage girls. The Fledgling grant will allow them to launch the next phase of their campaign that will be advanced by the film being part of ITVS's Women and Girls Lead initiative (2012).
- $20,000 to the Awra Amba Experience, a transmedia project including short films and an immersive website experience focused on an extraordinary village in Ethiopia. Fledgling has previously provided funding for this unique transmedia project. The new grant will support the post-production expenses for the short films and the website.
- $20,000 to Saving Face, a film about acid violence against women. The film’s global outreach efforts will be done in concert with the well-established London-based NGO Acid Survivor's Trust International (ASTI) and their in-country networks based in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda, Nepal and Pakistan. ASTI's established work in Bangladesh testifies to the impact of education and prevention strategies in reducing attacks -- with a 400% reduction in acid violence since beginning their campaign. This film won a 2012 Academy Award. The Fledgling grant will support phase one of the outreach campaign for this film (2012).
- $15,000 to The Waiting Room, a unique blend of locative media, social media and traditional documentary film that reveals a community disconnected from technology, the conversation about health care reform, and equal access to care. Fledgling provided early funding to help build the video blog as well as explore and develop the storytelling platform concept. The new grant will support the next phase (2012).
- $15,000 to The List, a film about a man who is trying to save thousands of Iraqis now in danger because they worked for the U.S. to help rebuild Iraq. The Fledgling grant will help the project move forward, providing funding for the development of a standards-based curriculum guide in collaboration with Columbia University's Teachers College as well as providing support for outreach staff and travel that will allow them to lay the groundwork for the campaign.
- $10,000 to Reportero, a film about violence against journalists in Mexico. The Fledgling grant will support five "community forums" in strategic U.S. communities, either situated on the U.S.-Mexico border or in influential cities where international media and legislators will be present with the goal of sparking critical conversations and press coverage about this issue (2012).
- $10,000 to The Light in Her Eyes, a film about a Muslim woman who runs a school for girls in Syria. The project has established partnerships with the ACLU "Know Your Rights" project and will collaborate with ACLU in Southern California on a series of screenings in order to educate women on both their rights within Islam and within U.S. constitutional law (2012).
- $8,000 to True/False Film Festival (Columbia, MO). Fledgling has supported this festival for years and will continue this year with a grant to support a focus group around two of the films in the festival. The focus group will include a variety of people from different professions, cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic levels, and will provide filmmakers direct feedback and knowledge of how their films may play to audiences (2012).
A full list of the Fund’s January 2012 grants can be downloaded from this page.
The Fledgling Fund partners with other funders to leverage the impact of its grants. Funding partners include: Working Films, Chicken and Egg Pictures, Arthur Blank Foundation and Impact Partners. Fledgling is interested in expanding its partnerships.
Fit for public broadcasting: The Fund’s commitment to social issues media makes it a good fit for independent and station-based producers. While most grants are for film projects and related outreach/engagement, the Fund is interested in transmedia initiatives. With its heavy emphasis on engagement, the Fund is a strong prospect for strategic, multi-platform and in-person engagement initiatives associated with media projects. The Fund may be of particular interest to stations participating in Women and Girls Lead or American Graduate.
Eligibility: The Fledgling Fund only makes grants to 501(c) 3 organizations. Letters of inquiry may be submitted by film production companies or individuals, but they will be required to have (and submit documentation from) a fiscal sponsor before a grant can be processed. The Fledgling Fund focuses the majority of its resources on outreach and audience engagement for documentary films that have the potential to lead to social change. While the Fund has not funded narrative film projects in the past, it is open to considering support for them if they have strong social change potential.
Deadline: The Fledgling Fund considers requests for creative media projects in two funding cycles each year. The next Fall cycle opens August 13, 2012. The Spring cycle should open in January 2013. Information about deadlines is available on this page.
How to apply: Guidelines and application information are available here. The Fund posts an online letter of inquiry form. If it is not currently available, applicants are asked to wait until it is posted.
Giving range: Usually $10,000 – $35,000
Assets: $18,049,420 (12/31/10)
Total giving: Approximately $1.5 million annually